Pakistan: persecution without prosecution

An opinion piece in the South Asia Channel of Foreign Policy urges the US to designate Pakistan a Country of Particular Concern. It includes a devastating summary of the reality for minorities in Pakistan, and concludes “Unless the Pakistani state, civilian and military, puts all its efforts into reforming laws to provide equality and protection […]

US Senate wants religious freedom weighed in trade deals

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed an amendment calling on the government to weigh a nation’s religious freedom picture when conducting trade deals. “We believe every person should have protection of the government to live (his) faith, not the compulsion of government to practice any one faith or to be forced to reject all faith altogether,” […]

Threats force Bangladeshi atheist to exile in USA

Taslima Nasrin’s relocation comes after three well-known atheists, Avijit Roy, Washiqur Rahman and Ananta Bijoy Das, were murdered in Bangladesh this year in the course of three months, Religion News reports. Al-Qaida in the Indian Subcontinent has claimed responsibility for the brutal murder of Das and has sent threatening messages to Nasrin. Nasrin’s move was […]

EU ‘must do more’ to stop religious freedom abuses

The European Parliament Intergroup on Freedom of Religion or Belief and Religious Tolerance launched their 2014 Report this month, saying still not enough is being done by European institutions around Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. “Unfortunately, we can only conclude that violations of freedom of religion or belief have become more frequent and […]

Saudi court upholds verdict against blogger Raif Badawi

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has upheld the sentence of 1,000 lashes and 10 years of imprisonment on blogger Raif Badawi, despite a foreign outcry, reports the BBC. Speaking from Canada, his wife Ensaf Haidar told the BBC she feared his punishment would start again on Friday. Badawi was arrested in 2012 for “insulting Islam through […]

Archbishop begs West to intervene in Syria

One of Syria’s most senior Catholic leaders has pleaded the Western powers for a full scale intervention in the country’s five year conflict, following another attack on rebel-held Aleppo, reports Aid to the Church in Need. Full-scale intervention by the West is urgently needed “to halt these monstrosities” being perpetrated in Syria and Iraq, according […]

Iran: Farshid Fathi’s appeal is rejected

Farshid Fathi has lost his appeal against an additional one-year prison sentence, reports Middle East Concern, adding that Iranian Christians are disappointed and concerned that the sentence has been upheld, In February 2012 Farshid was convicted of action against national security, co-operating with foreign organisations and evangelism, and sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment. […]

House of Commons: the Queen’s Speech and FoRB

On Monday 1 June the House of Commons debate on the Queen’s Speech included a focus on issues of foreign policy. Here are some extracts: Rehman Chishti: In tackling extremism, one has to create a tolerant world, but in 130 countries there is persecution of people based on their faith. Does the right hon. Gentleman agree […]

House of Lords: the Queen’s Speech and FoRB

On Thursday 28 May the House of Lords debate on the Queen’s Speech included a focus on issues of foreign policy. Here are some extracts: Bishop of Coventry Tackling the international challenges identified in the gracious Speech demands determined campaigns to build peace and stability on many levels. I will mention only two. First, there […]

Norway launches parliamentary network for Freedom of Belief

Last November we reported the Oslo launch of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (here). Today Norwegian Parliamentarians are launching their national network/committee, following in the footsteps of similar initiatives in Brazil, Pakistan and Canada. Every party in the Norwegian parliament is now on board and are reported to have welcomed this […]